Astro Toy
SH Figuarts Naruto

by David Cabrera, Aug 31st 2014

SH Figuarts Naruto
Series: Naruto
Price: $50

Boy, here's an overdue one. When I started this column I wondered to myself “I wonder when I'll order Naruto.” Well, it's been four years since then and here we are.

Speaking of which, Naruto is now a 15-year-old series (the manga began in 1999!), one of the only truly big international hit anime of the last decade... and somehow it's only getting the nice action figure treatment now. Bandai's model for anime figures seems to be “trash kids' toys when it's on TV, nice toys ten years later when the kids grow up”. And you know, the dude from Scryed got a figure before Naruto did.

So here it is. Here it stands. Here it stands, ninja clan—oh, I'm sorry, I was thinking of the German Naruto opening. Won't happen again. Anyway, this is neither a kids' candy toy nor a really top-of-the-line piece: the sculpt is decidedly average. Where they exist, the details look... okay, but it's mostly just the folds and creases of a jumpsuit. The faces aren't too impressive, detail-wise.

For apearance's sake the pouch that Naruto wears is not a fully sculpted object: the side you can't see is empty and it simply clips onto Naruto's butt. Seriously, it goes right in there. “Pop”. The tied-off end of the headband is also a removable part and can be swiveled around a little.

Articulation is excellent, as the simplicity of the character design (guy in jumpsuit) means that similar to the bodysuited superhero figures that are this line's forte, Naruto's body  has every point of articulation that one of these figures could possibly have. Notably, we have double-jointed shoulders and hips and an articulated upper and lower torso. Movement on the head is not so great: his neck barely moves vertically.

As Naruto is a ninja, he comes with a pair of kunai and hands specfically made for holding them. Nice, sharp plastic... just like Naruto's hair. All of it is prickly. Be careful.

There are a lot of hands packed with this figure, actually. Not so much ninja hand signs (just the one), but also thumbs-up for both hands and two pairs of splayed-out hands. Faces can also be changed without removing the head, but I'm so used to the old ways that I found myself doing so anyway.

The by now Bandai-standard effect part is a Rasengan attack, along with the appopriate hand shape for it. This is semi-transparent plastic with a little paint on it: it looks nice and the light paint makes it appear more “natural” than other effect parts of this type, which often look completely aesthetically out of place when attached to their figures. Especially with the torso built the way it is, the “Rasengan pose” is really easy to do, and I never even watched Naruto that far!

As is typical with bare SH Figuarts, no stand solution is provided. You're expected to buy the Tamashii Stand separately. I keep spares for situations such as this; if you buy enough Bandai stuff, you eventually just get in the habit of it.

However, because Naruto doesn't have a hole for a peg in the back, you're forced to use the Tamashii Stand's claw grip, which doesn't hold this figure terribly well. Aim for the waist, right below the jacket... and it might stay put. Not sure why they'd leave out the peg hole here.

Y'know, the box cutely suggests you buy a couple of Naruto figures so that you can accurately portray the shadow clone technique. Nice try, guys. (Several people will buy 20 of this figure just to make this joke on the Internet.)

This is such a completely average figure. Those are the hardest reviews, you know! If a piece is terrible, you've got a lot to say about it. If a piece is fantastic or unique, you've got a lot to say about it. But the merely average... oh boy. Reviewers dread the average.

Anyway, that's what it is. I recommend this to Naruto fans, as though they were waiting on my judgment! It's acceptable. Just about worth their money. If they believe it. Ahh! I'll stop! I'm sorry!!

We paid $50 because we preordered from BBTS: Amazon Prime users (and people who can walk into a store and buy it) can get it for the original $39.99 retail. Of course the Sasuke figure is coming soon, and I'd be very surprised if other characters weren't on their way. On their way. Naruto, he'll be okay. I'm sorry, I was thinking of the German Naruto opening. Again.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera makes moe 4-panel comics about videogames at Kawaiikochan.You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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